This is of course a hot topic for lots of us here.
Does anyone know how bike and horse speed events are held at other trail systems? Have you ridden on trails during bike races or endurance rides, etc. held on trails shared by mountain bikers?
Here in Washington Lord Hill is a popular horse and bike destination and full of winding trails and blind curves, so safety is a huge issue if one user group is traveling fast.
Safety is a huge issue with dual purpose trails. Last year we were riding at Buck Creek (wonderful place BTW) during the Enumclaw BCHW prize ride event. At the same time a bike group had a group ride at the same place. Hundreds of bikes, hundreds of horses, you get the idea. It was an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately, everyone that we met on the trail was very courteous. We moved to the side when we could and the bikers did likewise. Because of the congestion, however, we did decide to cut our ride short and not make the trip to sun top and its views of Rainier. I would venture to say that both groups would have had a more pleasant time without the other.
In the midwest some trail systems have gone to an even odd day system for users. For example; Mondays are horse use and Tuesdays are bikers only. This is a great system .... if you can ride on Monday. If not you're out of luck. This occurred on trails near the Cincy Airport that were a great ride.
I've also seen trail systems designate certain trail within the park by usage. Hueston Woods has trails just for horse and separate trails just for biking. This happened, again, after the various user groups couldn't play nice. The park rangers are serious about the usage rules and are quick to give tickets!
Of course the easiest remedy for land managers is to close trails. It's happened in Cincinnati and Northern Ky after bike and horse groups couldn't resolve their issues. England Idlewild closed to horse use and went entirely to biking when local horse groups didn't object until too late.
IMHO these conflicts are going to continue and even increase as more people discover the joy of being on trails in the outdoors. Unfortunately, at the same time use is increasing, the available recreational land area seems to be getting smaller, leading to more congestion. I'd much rather see all the user groups play well together as the examples I listed above all had the end result of less people using the the trails.
One thing that I do in the planning stage of a ride is to see what other groups may be out at the same time. I'll visit some of the bike club websites to see what's going on. Yes, it's a PITA. but it does let me know if I should reschedule.
Hoping others have thoughts on this.